So it has been a busy start to the 2019 season in the food program for special events and derbies. We have had amazing guests in the private houses and I have enjoyed cooking and coming up with some new dishes. Now in my fifth season at the lodge, I’m thrilled to see so many returning guests and this year I get to share the experience with my husband Mark Ross. This place has changed our lives. Every day of every trip, we have the opportunity to create something new and exciting on the culinary front!
Our first big event was the Appy Walk to start the season with a bang. We built 3 action food stations offering flaming prawns, a grill station, and a raw bar with many other tasty treats along the Totem House walkway. Even little projects like a breakfast smoothie bar for groups using the conference center are a source for personal satisfaction.
For the White Gold Derby we smoked a whole 50-pound pig for 20 hours, then plattered and walked it all the way from the main lodge to the dock for the wrap up party. It was a huge hit.
For some groups we bring in fun ingredients and create new dishes and “show food”stations for nightly events.
No matter whether I am cooking an intimate dinner for eight in Totem House or 16 on the lawn at the Charlotte House, there is an amazing culinary team with me. We enjoy collaborating to deliver memorable dining events to enhance the fishing and adventure activities our guests are here for.
I love hearing about guest experiences on the water and get excited for all who get to catch the big one. This place is something special for both guests and staff to create a unique and special experience. I am so excited for the months ahead with so many groups left to cook for!
Amanda Ross –Private Event Chef
An escape to this remote corner of the world is on the wish list for a lot of people, and for good reason! It’s definitely an angler’s paradise; those gorgeous chrome-bright salmon sure make an impression on you! The wilderness seascapes of the fishing grounds are literally overflowing with an abundance of life –both above and below the surface. Sharing a breath of salt sea air with a feeding humpback whale just a rod’s length off your boat is a sure testament to that – especially while you’re reeling in a nice lingcod off the other side!
Guests staying with us this week got to experience all that and more. Among our guests we were thrilled to host Kevin Costner and his family who were able to enjoy the QCL Experience with us. We’re so pleased that we were able to show them some beautiful BC wilderness along with some warm QCL hospitality. While they’re returning home with a nice box of fish we hope that their whole family takes along many fond memories of their visit here.
June fishing continues to be very productive with good numbers of Chinook salmon in all weight classes. Sixteen lucky anglers got to ring the Tyee bell over the past 4 days, celebrating what most would consider the fish of a lifetime. But like we always say, there so much more to it than just fishing!
Exciting times at Queen Charlotte Lodge! As we near the start of the 2019 season with our guests, the excitement in the air in Naden Harbour is amazing! With the staff arriving last week everyone is eager to learn the QCL way of service and of course do some fishing.
Sunny weather has greeted us the first few days on the water and it is great to see bent rods and big smiles once again. Being able to help many of our staff into their first ever fish reminds you why you enjoy being out there! It’s hard to top the smile after your first Chinook.
On top of all those exciting times on the water the lodge was abuzz yesterday, awaiting the arrival of our new fleet of boats. It was a beautiful sight watching them come into the harbour and into the breakwater. Not a detail was missed in the design of these boats and they look amazing, all parked at the docks.
After running many of our large aluminum boats over the past seasons I cannot wait to take these out on our grounds this summer! In a future blog update I hope to update everyone on all the amazing features and how they are to fish out of.
We can’t wait to hear the helicopters on Friday and see more of those big smiles!! Here’s to a great 2019 season!
Watch the arrival of the new boats at QCL dock in Naden Harbour!
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, made his much anticipated 2019 Fisheries Plan public on April 16.
You may see headlines in the media that say that fishing in British Columbia is shut down. To set the record straight, that is not true. The fact of the matter is that our Department of Fisheries and Oceans is very concerned about the low return levels of Chinooks to the Fraser River. Conservation measures are being taken to protect Fraser River Chinooks. These measures include non-retention of Chinooks in certain southern areas of the province.
The fisheries on the north coast and in Haida Gwaii, adjacent to QCL, are not part of the area considered for these restrictions. We will start the season with normal salmon limits for Chinook – 2 Chinooks per day and 4 in possession. Total salmon limits will also be unaffected with 4 salmon permitted per day and 8 salmon in possession. We will also have no Commercial Fishery in our area. That is fantastic news.
Regarding non-salmon species, there are slight changes in the halibut regulations this season, which we think most anglers will see as positive. This season anglers will have a choice:
Halibut possession limit is either of:
—- one (1) halibut measuring 90 cm to 126 cm in length (head-on), OR
—- two (2) halibut, each measuring under 90 cm in length (head-on)
—- The daily limit for halibut is one (1).
Limits for Lingcod and Rockfish remain unchanged from 2018.
On Thursday, Sept. 21st, a newborn Minke whale was beached in Naden Harbour on the sandy shore of the Kung village site in Haida Gwaii. Spotted by Andy Adams, caretaker of nearby Samson Lodge, at 10:30 am, he knew he would need a few pairs of hands to get him back into the water. Andy boated down the bay to Queen Charlotte Lodge and asked if we would be able to help. Operations Manager Brad Palmer cleared the rest of the work day so that we could go and assist. What an incredible opportunity! Eight staff members piled into the boat with buckets to see what we could do. The whale was very still when we got there and we were worried that he was sick or injured. He had a few scrapes on his back, which could have resulted from being separated from his mother by a pod of Orcas and chased into the harbour.
We’ll never know why he got there but we knew we had to help him. We kept pouring buckets and buckets of water on him to get his temperature down and after a while he perked up a bit and started breathing deeper and moving slightly. He was so young he still had part of his umbilical cord attached and pink pectoral fins. We dug a bit of the sand out from around him to let the water pool there to keep his temperature down as the tide was coming in. High tide was at 2:30 pm, and he was beached right at the high tide line so we knew we only had a brief window of time to get him back in the water. Very carefully we stood in the water with him and repositioned him towards the deeper water. He responded very well and got livelier as the water got deeper around him. We stayed with him in the water while he got his bearings again. In a big burst of energy he flipped his tail and swam out in a small circle, but came right back to us! I guess he wasn’t quite ready to go yet.
About 15 minutes later he made his final exit to the deeper water and stayed around for a few minutes until we couldn’t see him any longer. What an amazing feeling to watch him regain his energy and swim back out into the ocean! What an incredible animal! With a bit of help, we hope he can now find his mother. What an absolute privilege to see a whale up close like that and be able to help him out. We all agreed that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity!
For more information on Minke whales follow this link: http://wildwhales.org/classify/baleen-whales/minke-whale/
We love sharing the news of what’s up at QCL and this summer we’re having some fun “up” above – capturing new views of the lodge and the grounds with a camera drone. Look for awesome new video content coming to the website this fall! In the meantime, here are some still frames to share our new point of view!
Persistent westerly winds have been pushing tons of bait into the fishing grounds this week and with the bait comes all forms of sea life! Humpback whales are a constant presence in the quiet coves between the Mazzaredo Islands and Green Point. It’s amazing to watch them work their massive bodies around the rocky outcrops, doing headstands underwater, their broad tails waving at us as they corner schools of needlefish against the rocky walls below. They go about their business patiently, moving back and forth along the shore for hours. Savvy anglers recognize the feeding whale as a good sign that the salmon will also be there to get their share. Many a good salmon catch has come right from the whale’s dining room!
Cape Naden continues to be the most productive spot on our grounds, partly because it’s seen the most boats but also because the bait is hanging in that area. Parker Point, Bird 2 and Yatze have all produced decent action at some time during the day. While we haven’t had much problem with sea lions this summer, there were a couple of busy ones at Cape Naden and Bird 2 on Sunday, helping themselves to the odd Chinook. With the approaching full moon the flood tides have been more productive than the ebbs and the slack periods are brief but rewarding for those who get their timing right!
We’ve seen some nice big Chinooks come to the scale in the past few days – 35, 35, 36 on Tuesday, 30, 31, 37, 38, 46 on Wednesday, and 32, 38, 38, 43 on Thursday. It promised big things for the weekend Kingfisher Derby, our 14th annual. But the action slowed considerably and derby participants worked very hard to find Tyee-class salmon for our popular Catch & Release event. A handful of Tyees were recorded but no one was able to best Steve Rule’s catch on Saturday that taped out to 33.3 pounds, winning him the $40,000 top prize. Miles D boated the largest salmon of the weekend with a beautiful 37 pounder on Sunday afternoon, but he wasn’t in the derby! (shades of 2015 when Russ B weighed in a 50-pounder to not win the derby for the same reason!) Congratulations go out to Steve and his Denver team who did very very well in the overall scoring!
What have you been Herring about us? If anyone was Biting for more Reel reasons to visit the Bell Ringer – look no further! But hurry Onboard – this could get pretty fishy.
Just for the Halibut, we’ve put together 10 reasons why every fisher-Buoy and fisher-Gil should make a stop at the Bell Ringer at the end of their fishing day.
Here at the Bell Ringer, we don’t discriminate! Whether you’re a brain Sturgeon or the Fairy Cod-Mother, the Red Boot Team will show you a good time!
We’re pretty Shellfish here at QCL, and we like to treat our guests right! We offer you some of the tastiest appetizers and refreshing drinks on property!
We don’t Scale back – on anything!
Don’t get your Line in a Tangle! Sit back and watch everyone’s catch from the day get weighed up – you won’t miss the chance to see that Tyee on the scale!
You’ll have a Whale of a time!
We’re not a pain in the Bass! We want you to have the best time, and will go to great Lengths to make it happen!
If you’re sole-ly here for the fishing – great! Chat to our Fish Supervisors about processing your catch and bringing home some extra goodies.
Still need to Mullet over? Troll through our website and check out the photos for yourself!
Remember, any Fin is possible at the Bell Ringer!
Well… What are you Wading for? The Oppor-Tuna-ty is waiting!
Jessica I – Fish Services Supervisor
It’s hard to believe we’re already 2 weeks into the season! The crew has settled in nicely and we’re so pleased with the great job they’re doing! Ryan and Rob have assembled a crack team down on the dock to look after all things “fishing.” The guide team, all 35 of them, really have it going on the water! The Bell Ringer is a happening place with the RBT (Red Boot Team) ensuring that everybody loves weigh-in time! Up at the lodge Bre has the front-of-house crew working up a storm with both F&B and housekeeping. Executive Chef Ryan MacKay has returned “home” and teamed up with Jin to take our culinary program to a whole new level with a talented brigade of enthusiastic cooks. John and his operations crew have all systems GO and the property looking sharp! Mike “Bosko” Boscovich has returned to skipper the Driftwood with an excellent crew and Natalie and Joanne are super busy in the spa. We’re all tuned in for a banner 26th year in Naden Harbour!
The fishing so far this summer has been about on par with past seasons. The volume of feeder Springs – 14 to 18 pound Chinooks – at this point may be down a bit from last summer’s exceptional numbers but we’re seeing more fish in the 18-25 pound class. But guests are able to tangle with a few every day and get lots of nice salmon to take home. The Tyee count is on track with several fish in the 30’s and a couple of 40-plus fish coming to the boat in the past week. We always expect halibut fishing to be great in early June as many large fish come inshore to feed on needlefish emerging from the gravel and this season is no different! Many anglers have been able to get their 2 halibut while trolling for salmon. Those who love to go offshore to deeper water and hunt for a big one are not disappointed. Lots of stunning “overs” (halibut 20-60 lb.) have some to the scale. Already we’ve recorded 14 fish in the 100 lb. plus class including 2 fish over 200! Monte K tagged a 206 pounder in the first week of June and last week Denis C hauled up a giant that measured 78 inches in length for a calculated weight of 255 pounds! So no complaints about the fishing!
This week we’ve got very moderate tides with northwest winds to 20 knots but that’s to settle back to light variable winds for Thursday thru the weekend. Look for lots more news before then!